Ninth inning rally falls short for Jackfish

By Rod Mawhood • Photo by Dave Johnson

Welland suffers first loss at home this season

It was billed as one of the best pitching matchups of the Intercounty Baseball League's season, and in the end, a ninth-inning rally fell just short for the home side as the Welland Jackfish suffered their first home loss of the season in a 6-5 final to the Guelph Royals. 

The Royals opened a 6-1 lead on the strength of some stellar pitching from starter Claudio Custodio and former Blue Jays outfielder Dalton Pompey who's ninth-inning solo home run, and first of the season, proved to be the difference in this game.   
Custodio struck out 12 Jackfish batters to bring his league-leading strikeout total to 82 on the season. 

Welland Manager Brian Essery was very blunt about his team's performance. "We weren't our best today, It was probably our worst effort of the season, " Essery said. "We struck out 17 times tonight, which should not happen."

Down five runs entering the bottom of the ninth inning, the Jackfish used a little two-out magic to cut the lead to one. 

Zarley Cina, who finished the night 2-for-4 with a homerun and three RBI, idrove in a pair in the ninth inning, while Cole Cote, who was making his Welland debut, had the other ninth inning RBI on his first hit in a Jackfish uniform. 

"The fight in the ninth was nice to see," said Essery who was also quick to praise reliever Brandon Underhill who picked up starter Jake Harford. 

"Underhill threw very well tonight. We were very happy with his outing."

The Jackfish continue a busy four days of baseball with a visit to London Friday night, before opening a home and home against the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday night at home. 

First pitch flies at 6:05 on Healthcare Heroes night. It's also the first post-game Fireworks Extravaganza of the season. 

"We'll bounce back, and be much better for the weekend," Essery added.